Game Notes: Bulls at Celtics
Big Game for The Big Ticket.
by Jonathan Evans
There is certainly no shortage of storylines in this match-up. There’s the integration of Boozer to the Bulls‘ frontcourt, another round of Rose versus Rondo and, of course, the battle between Semih Erden and Omer Asik for best big out of Turkey.
Last but certainly not least, the loose-lipped Noah going up against the “mean and ugly” Garnett. This last storyline proved most promising for the Celtics as it resulted in a turn-back-the-clock performance from KG whose 20 points, 17 boards and 6 assists fueled the Celtics’ 104-92 victory over the Bulls. Here’s how it all went down.
For those wagering on such things, KG’s protracted pre-game ritual did not include a dap with Noah.
Garnett is a force early with two quick buckets out of the gate. On the other end, a lightning quick slash to the tin from the baseline for DRose gets Chicago on the board.
The 230-pound Noah cringes under the weight of the 320-pound Shaq. A post up by Shaq nets two more for the Diesel. Looks like it’ll be a long night for Joakim.
After struggling early – missing an easy layup, throwing a bad pass for a turnover and shorting an open 15-footer – Boozer is finding his stroke as he wets two jumpers to pull the Bulls within six.
Rose, a one man fast break, drives, hangs, cradles and finger rolls it in. Next time down, the Big Shamrock puts a stop to the speedy Rose by leaning into him after the play is whistled dead. It’s unlikely that Shaq won’t have to pay for the cheap shot; I don’t see Asik or Scalabrine as the confrontational type.
Celtics are destroying the Bulls in transition. After another Bulls miss, the Celtics quickly leak out and Ray gets another layup, his third so far. Thibs is not happy, timeout Bulls, 26-12.
KG smells fresh meat. Facing up on Noah, he drives hard left toward the paint and drains a short fall away. Very fluid, very explosive, it looks like Noah’s unleashed vintage KG.
‘Quis, finding his groove of late with the second unit is looking more and more settled. He drives to the paint and pulls up for a jumper, 31-19.
Out of the gate the Bulls jump out on a 15-3 run to get back into the game. Taj Gibson and the Bulls second unit go to work on the Celtic reserves who can’t buy a bucket.
Early frontrunner for chat of the night: “Get some sun,” yelled at Omer Asik.
Just like that it looks like we have some competition for fan comment of the night. After Boozer draws a foul on Semih one fan yells, “C’mon Semih, couldn’t you stop that!?” His friend counters, “Well if you had a Semih, could you?”
Quick whistles as Noah and KG are each hit with techs after they get tangled after a KG jumper.
Out of the timeout, Rondo throws a lob up to KG. A foul breaks up the finish but KG’s explosion to the tin is another signal that the knee is fine. Garnett finishes the half with 16 and 11.
Behind the starting unit the Celtics start pulling away. The defense has stepped up a notch and is forcing Chicago into jumper after jumper.
Apparently the Celtics decided they’d just go ahead and run lay-up lines this quarter. So far, it looks like the Bulls are cool with that. 18 points in the paint so far in the quarter for the Cs as every field goal so far this quarter has been at the rim.
Let’s see, during the third quarter, out of the Bulls 18 shot attempts, 15 were jumpers. Of which, just four went in.
A one handed dunk by Semih caps off the dominating third by the Celtics who close the period up 15.
More of the same in the fourth, as Chicago keeps misfiring from the perimeter and Boston extends its lead. Boozer hasn’t seen any action here in the forth and the front court of Noah and Gibson hasn’t been able to keep Boston from having its way in the paint.
Thibodeau answers fans chants of “Scal-a-brine” by bringing in Kyle Korver. Thibs, they meant the other one.
KG bottoms another jumper. That makes 20-17-6 for the Big Ticket. This isn’t what we’ve typically seen out of the late Adidas era KG. This new Anta era KG is reminiscent of AND 1 era KG. Or dare I say, the Nike foamposite era KG.
Rondo finds ‘Quis open underneath for an open dunk. That makes 16 assists for double-R. The scariest thing is that these numbers aren’t even surprising anymore.
Big Baby blocks the Asik dunk attempt. And with that whistle, we have Gino time at the Garden. Over on the bench, KG and company can’t resist joining in on the American Bandstand dancing. Even The Bulls Radio analysts TV team quickly gets in on the act. You heard it here first, Bill Wennington can do the hustle.
It looks like Taj Gibson will be staring in the sequel to Happy Feet. The big man is called for his second traveling violation of the quarter.
By the way, Rondo now has 19 assists. He picks up three more on feeds to Pierce. As impressive as Rondo’s litany of dimes are, the story after the game is the big game from The Big Ticket.
“He was great tonight, fresh, active and alert,” Doc said about KG. Marveling at his 17 boards, Doc pointed out that are “not only above the rim but out in space.”
“He’s rebounding over the rim,” Thibodeau said. “The way he’s playing it’s like two years ago.”
Garnett himself puts it a little more bluntly. “I’m healthy,” KG said. “I’m feeling fresh. I’m revived a little bit.”
Regarding the outspoken Noah, Garnett had even less to say. “I’m not entertaining or addressing nobodies,” he said. “I’m not even entertaining that, I’m focused on basketball and these wins and trying to make this team better.”
Garnett has never been confused for someone who has lacked focus and determination. The scary thought is that KG now has the spring back in his step to match his iron will; the ability to walk the walk and not just talk the talk; and the ability to make it resoundingly clear that the Celtics are the class of the Eastern Conference.